Strict Covid protocols slow down recovery of hotels

Tuesday November 30 2021
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Hotels have reopened but are still struggling to have maximum bookings as clients observe Covid-19 protocols. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


As the hotel industry picks up bits and pieces after close to two years of inactivity, the additional cost of paying for a Covid-19 test for guests coming for meetings and other additional services is still keeping some customers away.

Players in the hotel industry are happy business reopened and meeting clients are beginning to come back, a stark contrast from when things were completely gloomy a few months ago.

At the height of the pandemic, Palast Rock Hotel located in Nyamata only managed to survive because it was one of the few hotels that the Ministry of health worked with to host quarantined travellers.

Since hotels resumed, business is slowly returning to normal, NGO’s and government have resumed hosting meetings at the hotel while other revenue streams like sauna, swimming pool, tennis also have resumed.

“Business is getting back to normal, we hold meetings now, there is hope but recovery will take a long time but at least business is now operating,” said Munyampirwa Oscar, manager at Palast Rock Hotel.

“The fact that customers are required to do a Covid-19 test at an additional cost of Rwf5000 still poses a challenge to all services, all additional services are working at 50 percent compared,” he added.


He noted the revenues are now at 60 percent, but they have at least resumed servicing their loan.

However the picture is not the same in all hotels as some still struggle to attract business.

As hotels reopened for business, many especially small and medium ones found themselves facing operational challenges.

For instance, the months of inactivity had led to damages in equipment and hotel premises and they needed additional funds to renovate and buy new equipment.

Others, especially in rural areas could not host events or conferences because there are no Covid-19 testing centres close by.

“Business has not yet normalised. Far from it, clients are beginning to come back during weekends, but the tourists that the hotel thrived on are nowhere to be seen, majority of those coming are local” said Claude Tuyisenge, the Reservation manager at Moriah Hill in Kibuye.

He said most clients that come are NGOs and government institutions that hold their meetings and retreats at the hotel.